The Log Cabin Republicans’ R. Clarke Cooper today penned a scathing rebuke of LGBT activists and allies who have been speaking out against Chick-fil-A for its anti-gay policies. Confirming for his conservative brethren that “gay people really are the thought police,” Cooper lashes out at “Chick-fil-A haters” for being “superficial, vindictive, and juvenile”:
Turning a chicken sandwich into Public Gay Enemy Number One makes LGBT people look superficial, vindictive and juvenile — everything that we as a community have worked hard to overcome. Remember, employers don’t want drama queens on the payroll, military service is serious business, and marriage is not a right society grants to spoiled children. While in a perfect world our equality should not depend on our good behavior, in a world where our rights too often hinge on political reality, the way our movement conducts itself matters.
The “movable middle” moves both ways, and they don’t like seeing people attacked relentlessly for their religion. Whatever the nuances, these voters see a man standing up for his beliefs against a politically powerful mob dead-set on driving him out of business. It’s un-American, and when fellow conservatives are finally standing up and speaking out for marriage equality as consistent with the sober values of responsibility and commitment, splashing a popular American company with metaphorical chicken blood in protest is nothing less than friendly fire.
Amazingly, Cooper manages to buy into almost every talking point used by those defending Chick-fil-A while still purporting to support LGBT equality. While some conservatives (and “some” may yet be generous) are speaking out for marriage equality, Chick-fil-A is surely doing the opposite. There’s nothing “friendly” about a company president outright condemning marriage equality advocates as “inviting God’s judgment” while giving millions of dollars to anti-gay hate groups and ex-gay organizations. The Log Cabin Republicans say on their website that theirs is “is the only Republican organization dedicated to representing the interests of gay and lesbian Americans and their allies”; Chick-fil-A is neither.
The backlash against Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with being “thought police,” but about holding those with money and influence accountable. The struggle for LGBT equality extends far beyond the legal hurdles Cooper reduced it to in this post. Finding acceptance in society and minimizing language that stigmatizes is key to ending the bullying and minority stress at the root of LGBT people’s health and economic inequities. Cooper’s flagrantly offensive argument ignores both the actual lives of a community he claims to represent as well as the harm done by Dan Cathy’s remarks and his company’s donations.
Cooper claims that it’s a struggle to convince conservatives to support equality when the “spoiled children” of the LGBT community are standing up for themselves against vicious public attacks. If he’s willing to sacrifice dignity for equality, then it’s unclear if he’s “representing the interests” of anyone at all.